National Briefs

Posted on 17 Aug 2006 at 4:47pm

5th annual Bi Men Conference, Getaway Weekend set for October in Palm Springs

The Bi Men Network announced this week that its fifth annual Bi Men Conference and Bi Men Getaway Weekend will be held Oct. 5-8 in Palm Springs.

The event was held in San Diego for its first three years, and was held in Las Vegas last year. It was created to allow bisexual, bi-curious and gay men to gather in a safe, supportive environment for dialog on issues including feelings of invisibility and the societal pressure to remain closeted, organizers said.

This year’s event will include more than 10 workshops on topics such as coming out, relationships, dealing with guilt, spousal and family relationships, culture, identity and health. It will also include several social events and private mixers.

Early registration is $50, but will go up to $80 as the date for the event draws nearer. The deadline for early registration at the $50 rate is Sept. 5.

Each person attending is responsible for his own housing accommodations and transportation, but the Bi Men Network will try to help arrange shared transportation and accommodations.

For more information, go online to www.bimen.org.

Young gay activists take aim at “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. On paper, Haven Herrin seems to be an ideal candidate for military recruiters.

She can easily run five miles and was valedictorian of her college class. “Frankly, I’m exactly the kind of person the military says it wants,” she said.

But when Herrin tried recently to sign up for the Minnesota National Guard, she was turned down because she told the recruiter she is a lesbian a revelation that tripped the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay service members.

Her admission was the opening round of a nationwide campaign against the 13-year-old policy by a group of young activists. In the next few months, gay men and women in their late teens and early 20s will attempt to enlist at recruiting offices in 30 cities.

They will also disclose their sexual orientation.

If they are rebuffed, the activists plan to stage sit-ins at the offices, hoping to attract media coverage and support from a public they believe increasingly opposes the ban.

Chicago gay paper nixes ad from controversial sex researcher

The Chicago Free Press will no longer publish an ad soliciting gay males for a sex study because of the involvement of controversial Northwestern University professor J. Michael Bailey, the gay-oriented weekly declared in its current issue.

In an editorial in its Aug. 9 edition entitled “Bad Science,” the newspaper said it would not allow itself to be used “to further the dubious agenda of someone who believes he should not be held accountable to our community.”

Bailey is the author of the 2003 book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” which angered transsexual and transgender persons for some of its assertions, which Bailey said are based on rigorous data.

Northwestern investigated allegations that Bailey acted improperly during the research for the book, but never disclosed any specific discipline. Bailey resigned as head of the psychology department, but remains on the faculty.

“The main complaint is that Bailey’s been accused of a lot of improprieties over the years, and he’s never returned our calls,” Free Press Editor Louis Weisberg said. “He’s using us as science experiments but not being very accountable to us as a community.”

New Mexico gay man beaten after partygoer accused him of “‘being grabby’

A new Mexico District Court says that an 18-year-old gay man who was badly beaten at a party last month may have been assaulted because a fellow partygoer believed the gay man touched him inappropriately.

According to the Santa Fe Newspaper The New Mexican, William York, 21, and Larry Segura, 19, have been charges with aggravated battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. District Judge Michael Vigil set bond for each man at $100,000. Two juveniles, a boy and girl, are also being held in connection with the case.

The New Mexican reports that York believed the victim tried to grab his butt while they were at a party on July 30.

In an interview, York told state police the incident made him want to fight the 18-year-old man, the statement says. York said everyone at the party made fun of the 18-year-old man because he was gay.

York said he wanted to “‘scare’ the victim to “make him straight and to get him to stop acting the way he was.”

The juvenile male arrested in the case said he, York and Segura tied the gay man’s hands, placed a torn black T-shirt over his head, walked him into a deserted field, pushed him onto a downed fence and beat him.

The victim suffered bleeding on the brain, a concussion, facial lacerations and bruising from the beating, which lasted for hours, state police told reporters. York, Segura and the juvenile male have been charged under New Mexico’s hate-crimes law.

Navratilova to be inducted into U.S. Open Court of Champions

Martina Navratilova’s retirement sendoff will include induction into the U.S. Open Court of Champions.

She’ll be inducted along with the late Don Budge, a two-time winner, in ceremonies at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sept. 10 before the U.S. Open men’s final.

The 49-year-old Navratilova announced this summer that she will retire again after the Open this year.

She originally retired in 1994 with a record 167 singles titles, having spent 331 weeks ranked at No. 1.

Navratilova has specialized in doubles since her return in 2000, looking to add to her 58 Grand Slam titles. Among her 15 U.S. Open titles, Navratilova won consecutive singles championships in 1983-84 and 1986-87.

Minnesota officials will not levy fines on gay rights groups for campaign infractions

ST. PAUL – The state’s campaign finance board on Wednesday said it would not fine four gay rights groups after complaints from a group opposed to same-sex unions.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board found unintentional violations of public disclosure law by OutFront Minnesota, Northfield PFLAG and Equality Minnesota, and no violations by Faith, Family, Fairness Alliance.

The probe was prompted by Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage, an anti-gay marriage group that filed the complaint after questions were raised about its own disclosure practices.

In findings posted on its Web site, the board required Equality Minnesota and Northfield PFLAG to file papers as political funds and report financial details for Jan. 1 through Aug. 21, 2006.

OutFront Minnesota earlier this month complied with the board’s requirements to register as a political fund and file financial reports.

Faith, Family, Fairness Alliance didn’t spend enough to trigger registration requirements, the board found. It dismissed complaints that OutFront failed to report spending on the constitutional amendment and that Equality Minnesota and Northfield PFLAG should have filed lobbying reports.

Lesbian posed to become Missouri’s first openly gay state senator

WASHINGTON Jolie Justus will likely become the first openly gay state senator in Missouri history after winning her Democratic primary Tuesday night.

Justus will face a Republican opponent in November, but the district is considered a safe one for Democrats.

“In Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and now Missouri, excellent candidates are winning historic races,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which raised money for Justus’ campaign from its national donor network.

“Jolie’s win is a testament to her courage, commitment and skill, but it also confirms that fair-minded voters everywhere care more about good government than they do about whether their representatives are gay or lesbian,” Wolfe said.

The League of California Cities establishes first LGBT caucus for municipal league

The League of California Cities has established the first LGBT caucus of a state municipal league, due to the efforts of officials from the city of West Hollywood, officials announced this week.

The newly formed Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Local Officials Caucus will focus on promoting diversity in the League of California Cities and the Legislature through networking, information sharing, public education, and advocacy on issues that are of particular importance to the LGBT community, officials said.

The League of California Cities advocates for the common interests of California’s nearly 500 cities. West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang and Coronado City Councilmember Frank Tierney will serve as the provisional chairs of the caucus.

“There at least 30 openly gay and lesbian municipal officials in California,” said Prang. “This new caucus will provide LGBT officials an important means of working together on local and state issues. The caucus provides an important opportunity for the LGBT community to enhance our voice in local government.”

Gay charity donates $360,000 to help feed survivors of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita

America’s Second Harvest The Nation’s Food Bank Network has received $360,000 in donations from the Rainbow World Fund to help provide emergency food and grocery products to those still impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

“Rainbow World Fund may be based in the LGBT community, but our work involves helping everyone, everywhere we can,” said Jeff Cotter, founder and executive director of Rainbow World Fund.

“By partnering with America’s Second Harvest, we know we’ve helped make a difference,” he said.

America’s Second Harvest has, to-date, distributed more than 72 million pounds of food and grocery products to the areas directly impacted by the hurricanes of 2005, as well as to areas housing evacuees.

School district will appeal verdict in favor of lesbian former administrators

SHERIDAN, Wyo. The superintendent of Sheridan County School District No. 2 said the district planned to appeal a federal grand jury’s verdict that found the district had discriminated against two lesbian former school administrators.

The district issued a statement Tuesday saying last week’s verdict would be appealed at the “earliest convenience.”

“We never discriminated,” Superintendent Craig Dougherty said. “I grew up in a home where discrimination was not tolerated.”

On Aug. 11, a federal court jury in Cheyenne deliberated for about five-and-a-half hours before awarding $112,000 to Kathryn R. Roberts and $48,000 to Kathleen Milligan-Hitt.

When the school district consolidated schools in 2003, the women and other administrators had to reapply for five administrative jobs. Neither Milligan-Hitt nor Roberts was rehired as an administrator; Roberts was eventually given a position as physical education teacher, which she has since resigned. Milligan-Hitt and Roberts both currently work for schools in Fremont County.

The women said they lost their jobs after parents complained that the women were seen holding hands in a lingerie store in Billings. They denied the incident, but said they were angrily confronted by Dougherty afterward.

Dougherty said he never expressed anger about the incident.

However, Dougherty said he was “disappointed” with the verdict. He said the district’s efforts to establish programs to help minority students succeed showed that the district wasn’t prone to discrimination.

“You don’t do that if you’re a bigot,” Dougherty said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 18, 2006.

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